Flinders University Rural and Remote Health SA has welcomed the 2022 student cohort to their new campus at TAFE SA, a state-of-the-art learning environment.
The Barossa Valley MDRS is a collaboration between Flinders University Rural and Remote Health SA and the University of Adelaide Rural Clinical School, with 10 students from both universities embracing their new communities. They will gain clinical experience and knowledge working in local medical centres and hospitals, supported by GP supervisors, university professional staff and educators and return to the campus for simulation training and tutorials. Their clinics are in Kapunda, Tanunda, Angaston and Nuriootpa.
These placements give students a taste of rural medicine and an insight into the complexities associated with rural health and communities that they may not be familiar with. During their placement, they have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the community and already highlights of their involvement includes two joining Barossa United FC (soccer), others entertained the Ladies Probus Club of Barossa with a recount of their journey to become part of the Barossa MDRS and where the future might lead. The students have also put together a mixed netball team.
As the program is post graduate, students come from diverse backgrounds and regions. Tilly Lyons is from the Northern Territory and prior to medicine, studied a Bachelor of Biomedicine and majored in immunology. Tilly said “I am passionate about rural and indigenous health which was sparked by my own experiences and I couldn’t imagine studying medicine without the opportunity to go rural. To be a part of a team that advocates for the health of their community, it is such an honour to be starting my training here. After two years of medical study without being able to see patients during the pandemic, the first month of placement has been overwhelming but so exciting. I have been seeing patients in the practice and assisting in surgery. Only the second week had me in the A&E stitching up trauma wounds and doing baby checks on the bubs born overnight.”
Gabriel, from rural Tasmania also chose to study at Flinders for the rural program and postgraduate medical pathway. “I’ve always wanted to go into a medical field, but after working in pathology for a time I found that not knowing patient outcomes was something I found frustrating. That realisation about needing to know the start and end of the story helped push me towards medicine. The learning opportunities here have been amazing, I saw my first birth in the local hospital, and the patient interactions while on call have been so varied and interesting. Growing up in a rural place not too unlike the Barossa has made it much like home, and after spending the last 2 years in Adelaide I’m definitely not cut out for long-term city life.”
With the MDRS program running since 2008 in the Barossa, Victor Harbor, Riverland and Mount Gambier, the longitudinal nature is designed to empower students to make more informed choices about their future in the rural and remote workforce and prepare them well for their final student year and internship.
The Barossa is very fortunate to have past students who have returned to the region with Dr Stuart Ross (2008) now part of Kapunda, Dr Natalie Payne (2009) Tanunda, Dr Jessie Myatt (2011) Tanunda and Dr Martin Sterck (2011) Angaston.
2022 MDRS students have settled in particularly well with their feet hitting the ground running under difficult conditions and restrictions due to Covid, but everyone loves the new Flinders campus at Barossa TAFE SA. They have all accepted the challenge and are making the most of every opportunity that comes their way. Most of the teaching has been face to face and students have participated in numerous simulations already in the fantastic new simulation room.
The Flinders Rural and Remote Health MD Rural Stream was recently featured in the Barossa Leader Newspaper.